Lance Sallis, of Central Texas Restorations, and I rode the top half of Utah’s Backcountry Discovery Route (and then some) last year and before we were done, committed to riding the bottom half as soon as the snow melted in 2021. Our enthusiasm got the better of us and we jumped the gun. The snow falling on our base camp in Park City, Utah, the day before our departure should have been taken as a warning, but we departed Deer Valley ready for a challenge.
It turns out the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route is a tough one to plan. Leave too early and you’ll encounter snow-blocked mountain passes. Leave too late and you will bake in the desert leading into and out of Moab, Utah. To say that Utah offers a little of everything is an understatement.
My ride ended early when 10 days into the trip my bike was stolen from the Navajoland Hotel in Tuba City, Arizona. This left me puddle-hopping my way back to Park City and Lance riding back solo. While he didn’t have the pleasure and amusement of my company, he did enjoy a ride on totally new routes including the Skyline Road where he experienced more great riding while almost suffered frostbite. Utah has a lot of high country.
So, we completed the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (if it counts to ride around snow covered passes) but I don’t think it will be our last ride of the route. We’ll hit the bottom half again when the snow is off the mountains even if the bikes will run a little hot through the desert. One thing we won’t do is ride anywhere near Tuba City.